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Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confiremd that Shola Shoretire and Hannibal Mejbri will train with the club’s first team “for a while” as the Red Devils continue to usher through their next wave of academy talents.
Winger Shoretire hit the headlines with a hat-trick against Blackburn Rovers earlier this month and the 17-year-old has since signed his first professional contract.
The youngest player ever to play in the UEFA Youth League, doing so at the age of 14 years and 314 days, there are high hopes for Shoretire at United.
Similarly, 18-year-old Frenchman Mejbri will join United’s first team in training – although both he and Shoretire will continue to play for Neil Wood’s under-23s.
Mejbri joined from Monaco 18 months ago and has impressed at under-23 level, producing four goals and seven assists in 17 games in Premier League 2 and the EFL Trophy this term.
“The young kids – yeah we’ve moved Shola up with us. Hannibal will probably join us and and we’ll keep them with us for a while,” Solskjaer confirmed on Friday.
“I think it’s the next step in their development. We’ve just got to take the hit on them that when they play for the reserves they have to travel by themselves.
“They’ve moved into our bubble. I think it’s a nice step for them; well deserved because they’ve done really well.”
Speaking last year, a source with knowledge of United’s under-23 training sessions said that Mejbri “takes the p***” in training.
“He is composed, can go past a player and break a line,” they told The Athletic. “He actually takes the piss sometimes against players a couple of years older than him.
“He’ll feint to strike then drag it and shoot the other way. When you’re a young player and you get brought in for a relatively big fee from a foreign club, you’re gonna have everybody watching you, and he’s aware of that.
“He’s a very good player, talent-wise, or else we wouldn’t have brought him in, so that’s a given.
“But he is still only a baby, just six months out of school. He has still got a lot of growing to do. He is a good size vertically but he needs to fill out, get stronger, and he needs to learn certain parts of his game – like they all do.
“But we’re very confident in that he’s at a really good starting point. He’s a very hard-working boy and hopefully, given time, and not too much pressure, he’ll get to where we want him to be.”
The two United youngsters are among several promising up-and-coming teenagers with Amad, signed from Atalanta for up to £37million, also impressing in first-team training and in under-23s games.
Solskjaer is meanwhile eager for United to end the season with silverware after learning his side will face Leicester in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
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The Red Devils also resume their European campaign with a two-legged last 32 tie against Real Sociedad in the Europa League next week.
The Norwegian coach said: “You go into every season trying to improve. If you improve, that’s a step forward. Is that a big enough step forward? We’ll have to see at the end if we end up with trophies.
“We’re still in the cups – we lost in the semis in the Carabao Cup, we’re in the quarters in the FA Cup and we’re still in Europe, and we’re second in the league.
“At the moment, it looks like we’ve improved, but we’re going into the deciding period of the season, so it’s now that we have to kick on.
“It’s now that we have to keep our consistency, get the quality higher, eradicate some of the mistakes that we’re making and be more clinical in front of goal.
“I don’t want to say what would be a successful season at the moment, but we have the chance to end this season with the feeling that this season has been a success if we improve.
“I think we have shown qualities that can win us trophies.”
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